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Court Says Canadian Anti-Crypto Move Unconstitutional

A federal judge declared that the invocation of the emergency law, granting the government authority to freeze assets, lacked justification as there was no national emergency.

Wed, 24 Jan 2024, 09:11 am UTC

The Federal Court of Canada has delivered a resounding rebuke to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government, ruling that the emergency law invoked to curb financial support for protesting truckers was unreasonable and unconstitutional.

The court, led by Justice Richard Mosley, declared on January 23 that there was no national emergency justifying the application of the Emergencies Act.

Unprecedented Use of Laws

In February 2022, the Canadian government, under Prime Minister Trudeau, utilized the Emergencies Act for the first time. The law was employed to freeze funds, including cryptocurrencies, donated to truckers protesting COVID-19 restrictions. These truckers, part of the "Freedom Convoy," staged protests in Ottawa against mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for truck drivers crossing the Canada-U.S. border.

According to Coin Telegraph, the government argued that the Emergencies Act was necessary because the protests were deemed an illegal occupation. However, Justice Mosley's recent decision has considered this use of the emergency law unreasonable and unconstitutional.

Legal Challenges and Cryptocurrency's Role

Legal challenges were mounted against the government's implementation of the emergency law, led by organizations such as the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) and the Canadian Constitution Foundation. They contended that freezing funds through emergency powers was unnecessary and violated constitutional rights.

Following the court's decision, the CCLA hailed it as a "clear and critical precedent for every future government." Justice Mosley emphasized that the Emergencies Act should be a tool of last resort, not invoked merely for convenience.

Despite the ruling, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland has announced the government's intention to appeal.

Crypto Community

Cryptocurrency played a pivotal role in financing the trucker protests, and protesters received an estimated millions of dollars in cryptocurrency.

According to CCLA, tracking decentralized digital assets posed challenges, making the exact total raised unclear. Platforms like GoFundMe and Tallycoin were utilized for fundraising, with over $9 million frozen by GoFundMe in February 2022. Tallycoin, built on the Bitcoin blockchain, saw the HonkHonk Hodl group raising over 22 Bitcoin (BTC), valued at around $925,000.

The Christian crowdfunding site GiveSendGo also garnered support, raising over $8 million for the truckers, including unspecified amounts in cryptocurrency. However, Canadian authorities later froze bank accounts linked to GiveSendGo donations. During the protests, crypto industry figures, including Kraken founder Jesse Powell, criticized Canada's freezing of digital assets.

Photo: Jason Hafso/Unsplash

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